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Report: Green Bay-area drivers losing nearly $1,600 annually

A newly released report from TRIP indicates Green Bay-area drivers are losing nearly $1,600 a year due to time wasted in traffic.
Posted at 4:00 AM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-17 08:59:35-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A national report shows drivers in the Green Bay region are losing roughly $1,600 a year.

That includes what people are spending to repair their vehicles due to bad roads, lost time from sitting in traffic or being delayed because of congestion and a lack of much-needed safety features.

The problem isn't exclusive to the region, and local leaders are finding new ways to stretch your tax dollars.

According to TRIP, 43% of roads in the Green Bay region are considered in poor condition with 24% ranked as mediocre.

TRIP's Director of Policy and Research, Rocky Moretti, says more federal and state dollars are allowing Wisconsin to complete those much-needed projects.

"But highway construction inflation and a potential decline in federal and state fuel tax revenues could impact the state's ability to fund needed transportation improvements," Moretti said.

Green Bay Public Works Director Steve Grenier says the rising cost of construction and less money from the state's fuel tax to pay for projects—since more people are buying fuel efficient vehicles—is an issue everywhere.

"I don't know that it has reached that point of criticality yet, but it's definitely something of concern," Grenier said.

Grenier says finding more cost-effective ways to pay for projects like filling potholes and treating roads during the winter helps, but this ongoing problem remains.

"I have enough funding to reconstruct or resurface approximately 1.6% of my road miles on an annual basis. It's concerning, but again, the money has to come from somewhere," Grenier said.

$603 Billion of freight passes through Wisconsin every year, and that number is only expected to grow.

To improve safety, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is updating weigh stations across the state and expanding space for commercial drivers.

At the local level, Public Works Directors are getting creative to help stretch those funding dollars even further.

"What we've done is we've taken some pretty aggressive steps in the last several years in either trying to do a more proactive maintenance program to stop the deterioration and make the road last longer," Grenier said.

If you've ever left a Packers' game or simply hit the daily rush at Highway 41 past Scheuring Road in De Pere to Appleton, you know just how busy it gets as traffic bottlenecks from three lanes to two.

Fortunately, plans are in the works to expand capacity—reducing congestion and indirectly saving you time and money.

"We've got aging infrastructure. There were a lot of decisions made over previous decades not to invest money and kick the can down the road, and that bill is starting to come due," Grenier said.

The report from TRIP examined all metropolitan areas across the state.